Photograph

by Rosalind Hudis

This is my daughter asleep in the morning,
one hand between the silvery poles
of her cot, that remind me of birch trees.

She’s going to theatre soon:
the surgeon will snap her ribs
to reach a heart which can’t wake

itself properly inside its blue forest.
She mustn’t eat. So when she stirs and calls
my arms down for the first feed, I turn

to the wall. She beats a fist,
the size of a large bee, into air.
Her feet swim faster as if racing

a blind snow flood,
and I am the snow. Later
it’s I who can’t reach

my child so far under,
her face a locked, white egg
in the thicket of tubes.